The team from The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS)had a narrow escape during a rescue operation when they were held at gunpoint by two men trying to hijack them.
The incident happened near the entrance to Mitchell’s Plain.
Jo Bosman, operations director of Anti Animal Trafficking, an NPO, had arranged for a rescue operation for Sunday July 7 in the afternoon .
They were looking for a dog whom they named Lucy. Lucy had been in the area for about a year and had recently had a litter of puppies.
Ms Bosman joined Tears director Marilyn Hoole, Barbara Currin and Sue Oosthuizen in the Tears van. Several other people also joined the search party but in separate vehicles.
Ms Hoole parked the Tears van on the side of the road and coincidentally spotted another dog, Nancy, they had been looking for during a visit to the same spot earlier that morning.
Nancy was placed in a box in the back of the Tears van, and the search for Lucy continued with the cars moving closer to the entrance of Mitchell’s Plain, where the dog had been spotted.
At this time, Ms Hoole became aware of two men standing around watching them.
“They asked us what we were doing and then asked questions like do you have any dog food and do you have any money for us,” she said.
Ms Hoole said the team had eventually agreed it would be easier and less traumatic to set a trap for Lucy and had decided to call it a day.
The other volunteers returned to their cars and the two men asked one of them for a lift. They climbed on to the back of a bakkie.
When Ms Hoole climbed out of the van with a black bag to remove a dead dog from the side of the road, the men jumped off the bakkie and approached the Tears van.
Ms Hoole had climbed back into the driver’s seat and Ms Bosman, one of three passengers in the vehicle, was preparing to close the van door when one of the men pointed a 9mm pistol in her face shouting “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you all. Give me your handbags and phones”.
Ms Hoole said they had all stayed calm. She said she had looked back and seen the man holding the gun in Ms Bosman’s face. He had leaned into the van and she thought if she pulled away fast enough she could knock him out of the van.
“I looked at my sister (Ms Currin) and whispered to her, ‘we’re going’,” she said.
She slowly put the van in gear and pulled off as fast as she could.
The man holding the gun was knocked out of the van but not before taking Ms Bosman’s phone.
Ms Bosman said everything had happened so fast.
“When he waved the gun in my face, I looked him in the eyes and his eyes were dark,” she said.
She said she had seen Ms Hoole’s hand on the gear leaver and realised what she was planning.
“I opened my bag very slowly and slowly took my phone out. He grabbed it and then took a step back. This is when Marilyn pulled off,” she said.
Ms Bosman said she was still numb and had gone through several stages of anger since the incident. She said she would never stop rescuing animals but would be more careful next time.
Muizenberg police spokesman Captain Stephen Knapp said Mitchell’s Plain police were investigating the robbery as had it had happened in their precinct.
* Tears is an NPO and its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home domestic animals, as well as provide veterinary services to local communities. For more information or if you would like to volunteer or make a donation, call 021 785 4482 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org